Tag: remodel

How One Man Created a Dream Kitchen to Honor His Late Wife

When a widower sought help creating a dream kitchen his late wife always dreamed of, Chicago-based interior designer Cynthia C. Smith of CCS Interior Design Group was honored to take the job: “He wanted to create a kitchen that was bright, inviting, modern, functional, and full of life to celebrate his wife.” With the help of Monogram Appliances, the client’s kitchen is now the ideal spot for cooking up his own daily meals and entertaining family and friends.

The Boulevard Show House Appliance Expert

As we shared back in September, Monogram is the proud sponsor of the Boulevard Show House in Houston, Texas, in collaboration with Laura Umansky. You can learn more about the announcement here and read our interview with Laura here.

Earlier this week the Laura U team talked with Alexandra Skobel, Monogram Designer Engagement Leader – Central Region, about Monogram appliances and the new appliances soon to be featured in the Boulevard Show House kitchen. Read the interview here.

Just wait until you see this vent hood in the Boulevard Show House kitchen!

As you may know all too well, remodeling projects take some serious time and then shift into super-speed. There are lots of exciting updates happening at the Boulevard Show House now! Check out The Boulevard Show House website and Facebook to stay up-to-date on all the progress updates and exciting announcements.



KBIS Recap

Written by John Nichols, Monogram Marketing Manager

Each year I look forward to starting the year fresh, full of new ideas and excited about the possibilities in the year to come. There is one industry show that embodies everything I enjoy about starting a new year – the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). The show continues to raise the bar each year. It was once again co-located with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show as part of Design and Construction Week. This year’s show was held in Orlando, Florida, and, as expected, it did not disappoint.

Of course, there are always plenty of new trends and technologies announced and launched as part of KBIS. This year two themes stood out as being incorporated in the exhibits, product offerings, and the general buzz with the trade community.

The first theme was home control. Home control includes the advancements in home automation or making homes “smarter.” Manufacturers continue to find ways to incorporate smart technology into more products, simplify controls, and find more cost-effective ways to integrate it into their products. The primary way automation is being integrated into the home is through products that operate by gestures and proximity sensors, and especially, products connected through WiFi to operating systems and other products in the home. Ultimately, the idea is that products can predict your needs before you have to dictate or manually act to utilize a product. Some of the best examples I saw at the show, include:

  • Pfister Auris – a voice-controlled faucet that offers filtered water and precise measurements of water at specific temperatures, which are perfect for cooking.


  • U by Moen – creates a customized shower experience via your smartphone. You have the ability to start the shower, customize the temperature, and even get alerts when your shower is ready.


The second theme that continued throughout the show was kitchens moving toward cleaner designs that focus on efficient living. The clean designs focus on getting rid of clutter and competing lines, and hiding appliances with cabinet panels or cabinet configurations. These kitchens still infused life and fun into the kitchen design with use of color and combining finishes in cabinetry and countertops.

  • Wellborn Cabinet showcased their Best of KBIS kitchen entry. They also launched their new line of Aspire cabinetry that is full-access frameless product.
Wellborn Cabinet KBIS Display

Wellborn Cabinet KBIS Display

  • Häfele’s Tab collection of cabinetry hardware allows the clean lines of the cabinetry to be the kitchen showcase. The hardware can be top mounted on drawers and bottom or side mounted on swinging cabinets. With a variety of colors and finishes, some designs make the hardware almost invisible.
  • Poggenpohl showcased a new line of chrome-plated lacquers in 14 colors, including green, gray, and blue that offers a clean look with a splash of fun.
  • Masterbrand Cabinetry showcased their Omega brand of cabinetry that integrates different finishes into the kitchen.
MasterBrand Cabinets KBIS booth

MasterBrand Cabinets KBIS booth

Hopefully you enjoyed the show as much as I did. Maybe you got a few ideas or a new perspective. I might have come away with a new project – the show just about pushed me over the top on a kitchen remodel. I hope my wife doesn’t mind!

GE Cafe Black Slate appliances at KBIS

GE Cafe Black Slate appliances at KBIS

Monogram Kitchen Remodel with Siobhan and Jody Young

Christina Dragota, lead product specialist in the Monogram Design Center in Chicago, talked with homeowners Siobhan and Jody Young about their recent kitchen remodel, why they chose Monogram appliances, and what they learned during the process.

Siobhan's Kitchen

Why did you decide to remodel your kitchen? 

We were very unhappy with the overall layout of our old kitchen. It was dated and very dysfunctional. We had large areas that were tremendous wastes of space. We also greatly disliked all of our white, outdated appliances.

Tell us about your design process for the kitchen.

Initially we went to a cabinet company to do our layout. Because of the strange shape of our kitchen it presented many challenges. Finally, my husband who is s structural engineer, decided to lay it out himself. We knew we wanted to maximize the space and wanted a design that was functional with our three kids. We needed storage, display area, and wanted to increase the value of our home with a gourmet kitchen. I knew I really wanted white somewhat traditional cabinets that would last the test of time. We knew that we wanted stainless steel appliances with an industrial look. Mostly we wanted a beautiful kitchen that would be the focal point of our very lived in home.

Why Monogram appliances?

We were attracted to Monogram appliances when we visited Chicago at Easter time. We went to the GE showroom and met with Christina who showed us the functional features and industrial gourmet look we wanted. I was most impressed with the induction cooktop especially with the speed and evenness of cooking. The Advantium oven was also another huge seller. I needed the bonus of additional oven and the functionality of a microwave and toaster all in one.  My husband was sold on the 48” refrigerator, it was enormous and absolutely amazing looking. It became the focal point of our pantry wall very quickly!

Siobhan's Kitchen3

Which appliance are you most excited about?

The Advantium!

Siobhan's Kitchen2

What would you have done differently with the remodel?

In the remodel, the only thing I would have done differently would be to add a wine cooler to the pantry wall. We are avid wine drinkers but struggle with getting the perfect temperature in both reds and whites. Currently, we are undertaking a remodel in our laundry room (our final downstairs project) and are exploring adding a wine cooler in there. A Monogram cooler is on our wish list.

Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest Judge Profile: Paula Kennedy

Very soon we will be announcing the winners of the Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest. We received so many great entries from around the country! Our judges definitely had their work cut out for them. And speaking of judges, an illustrious collection of esteemed designers from across the U.S. agreed to take the time to review the contest submissions and select the winners. This year’s judges are:

Over the next few weeks, we will profile each Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest judge. Our fourth profile features Paula Kennedy with Timeless Kitchen Design in Seattle, Washington.

Paula Kennedy, Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest judge

Paula Kennedy, Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest judge

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Paula: I grew up decorating Barbie’s house (how cliche is that) and drawing life-size floorplans in the dirt outside when we would go camping in the NW. I loved to build the house not just decorate it. At my grandmother’s house there was a section of the space we could play and I always moved furniture around. Mom always kept my bedroom door open, “the pretty” room, and closed my sister’s, or asked me to help my sister do her room. After burn out at Microsoft, I was able to go to The Art Institute for Interior Design and launched into kitchen and bath design 18 years ago!

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.

Paula: My most recent favorite was a whole house remodel/addition for a family I knew well. It was supposed to just be a kitchen remodel but turned into a second story addition/whole house remodel. The husband always teases me about it being my fault. It was a modest budget which pushed us to be more creative to meet the budget without anyone knowing any of the materials were budget-friendly. They trusted me completely and the team I brought in. It got to where we could finish each others sentences, the wife trusted that I “got” her and knew exactly what she wanted. I could go on and on. This project was highlighted on Houzz and in the K+BB Collective.  (Wasn’t GE products though, unfortunately, that was before I saw the light!).

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Paula: Honestly, I’m tired of wonderful good design becoming a TREND, therefore being over-used, over-done, sold everywhere to everyone, and then soon everyone says they don’t want subway tile (for example) because its a FAD, when in fact it is one of the longest lasting timeless design elements that fits in the right home with the right clients. But now that it’s been so overused, it is being looked down on instead of the beautiful option that it was and should still be.

  • I am very nearly over Brushed Nickel.
  • I am over glazed cabinets.
  • Becoming over certain styles of glass mosaic tile, or any 1×1 mosaic.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?


  • Polished Nickel, Polished Chrome
  • Reclaimed wood paneling on walls or other surfaces (not your mother’s wood paneling)
  • Industrial Chic Design!
  • BLUE! From dark, light to VIBRANT!
  • Sleek Sexy Transitional Design

SRFD: What are you looking forward to about judging the design contest entries?


  • How other creatives solve solutions.  We all think so differently and we can all always learn from each other.  Also, LOVE seeing what is trending across the country.
  • We find inspiration all around us and getting a birds-eye view of these projects is exciting as well as working with the other judges to see how we use our analytical brains to take in not only the aesthetic side of the project but the solution as well.

Follow along with Paula on LinkedIn, Houzz, Facebook and Ignite Creativity.

Designer profile: Sarah Robinson

The Monogram Experience Center (MEC) brings designers to Louisville, Kentucky, for three-day experiences to learn about Monogram, the design process, our appliances – and even cook with them! We interviewed each designer to learn a little more about their background and design experiences.

Today’s profile highlights Sarah Robinson with Jansen Inc. in Pensacola, Florida.

Sarah Robinson, recent participant at the Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky

Sarah Robinson, recent participant at the Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Sarah: I became interested in design many years ago. I used to watch This Old House with my dad when I was a kid and was just fascinated by the older homes.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.

Sarah: I worked on a huge remodel that touched about 80% of the home. It was fun to rework the layout, take down walls, and create a new kitchen and master suite

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Sarah: The thin linear glass tiles and the small square glass tiles for a backsplash in a kitchen.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Sarah: The rustic chic design style – it’s fun and comfortable

SRFD: What did you learn in Louisville?

Sarah: Lots! I loved learning about the Advantium Speed Oven – what an amazing product! Also, I loved the French door oven and seeing the French Door Fridge being manufactured